Archive for Camping Tips

Campfires – Tips & Tricks To Keep Them Roaring For Hours

Campfires have been around for ages. They used to be necessary to survival for humans, as they provide light, warmth, protection from many bugs and wild animals, and are even a place to cook food. Even though they are no longer vital to life, they are great for emergency situations, and they are also a tradition even in modern day camping. Something about fire seems to attract many people, and the benefits it provides are a great bonus.

Roasting marshmallows and making s’mores, warming your hands on a cool spring night, telling spooky stories are just a few among the tons of possibilities of a campfire. Of course, before you can enjoy it, you must build it, which isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Here are some tips and tricks to keep your fire roaring for hours.

Safety First – Don’t Let Your Campfire Get Out Of Control

With fire comes danger, so it’s a good idea to be prepared and put safe practices into use when building your campfire. Use a designated fire ring if your camp spot has one. If you are staying in a more backcountry area with no camp sites provided, you will have to create your own. Select a place away from trees and shrubs. Make sure there’s no plants on the ground, such as grass (even dead grass- it catches fire easily.) Clear away bark, dead tree branches, and just leave the ground bare.

Building time

Gather some small to medium sized stones and put them in a ring shape, about as large as you’d like the base of the fire to be. That will be your fire ring. Adding a pile of dirt to the middle, form a platform that is around 3 to 4 inches thick.

First you should start off with tinder. Tinder is the small, dry scraps that burn well that are the foundation of your fire. As the outdoors can be wet from rain, snow, or streams, sometimes it is difficult to find dry sticks and damp ones will not burn at all. There is many different things that can be used in situations like that. Some suggestions are dryer lint, cedar shavings, cotton ball and Vaseline, cattails, birch bark shaving, steel wool, paper, you name it.

Once your tinder is burning, it will burn quickly, and you will need something larger to keep it burning. Using too large pieces of wood, however will smother your small fire. The medium sized pieces of wood you need next are called kindling, and like tinder, it will not burn if it is wet. In a pinch, if everything you have is too damp, you can scrape away the outer layers with a knife.

When your kindling is going, you should have a nice steady fire by this point. But to keep it going, you must add even larger pieces of wood, otherwise you will be out gathering tons of small sticks. Look for pieces of wood that are dry and about as big as your wrist. Those will keep your fire going for quite awhile.

Putting out the campfire

As a general rule, you want to give yourself 20 to 30 minutes to put out the fire. Putting a fire out safely and thoroughly takes much longer than you’d think. Don’t just pour the bucket of water onto the fire- it will flood the pit and someone who comes along later may not be able to use it. Sprinkling the water, just as much as you need to put out the embers is the best course of action. Stir the ashes around with a stick, until they have all been dampened. Listen for noises such as pops and hissing. When you don’t hear them, it is closed to being fully put out.

Never put your hands in the ashes, it could still be burning or warm in an area you missed or underneath and it would scald you. Instead, it is suggested to put the back or palm of your hand near the ashes. Once it feels cool, the fire is out. Don’t forget that if you made your own fire pit, to recover the grounds with dirt, scatter the rocks, replace sod, etc.

Some things to remember

You should have a bucket full of water next to your fire as soon as you light it for safety reasons. When you are finished with your fire, you can use the bucket of water to put out the fire. When gathering wood, try to find wood that snaps easily. The easier it is to snap it, the drier it is, making it much easier for the fire to burn. If it bends, it’s too wet or green. You can tell your wood is too green or damp is there is a lot of smoke and it has trouble burning on certain parts of the branches. Collect double, or even triple, what you think you will need during the day. It’s hard, if not impossible to find the right type of wood in the dark. You will also use more than you think. If you have extra, you can use it to keep the fire going longer, leave it for the next person, or just return it to the grounds. Using a campfire can be very fun and entertaining. Hopefully these tips will help you build your own successful campfire.

Wanna Go Winter Camping? Here’s 7 Winter Camping Tips To Help

Winter Camping TipsWhether you’ve gone winter camping before or not, there are certain things you should watch out for. I would only recommend winter camping to people who have money to buy the proper equipment and are experienced summer campers. Winter camping is a lot different and much more dangerous than your average summer camp trip. Be sure to consider these winter camping tips before you head up the mountain.

Top Winter Camping Tips

Tip #1: Be  A Thorough Planner

Winter camping isn’t like summer camping where you can decide to load up and head out last minute because your weekend plans got canceled. There must be a lot of deliberate planning for a real camping trip in the snow. Don’t feel like you have to go up in the dead of winter either, the best time to winter camp is usually around February, March, or April. As long as you go up high enough there will be plenty of snow and the conditions will be a little warmer.

Tip #2: Be Prepared For Anything

If you do the kind of winter camping that we’ve done in the past, you’ll be perched on top of a mountain knee deep (or more) in snow. A blizzard could (and has) roll in at a moments notice and snow you in, making it impossible to leave for quite some time. Winter camping is not a time to pack light – you need to be prepared for anything.

Pack a lot of extra food, clothing, blankets, propane and pretty much everything on your list. If you get stranded up on the mountain, you’ll want to have everything you need to survive easily. Preparing properly can turn a near disaster into merely an extension of your camping trip.

Tip #3: Go Tent Camping

A real winter camping trip isn’t complete without a big canvas tent – No RV’s allowed! Why? You’d never get an RV into the places we go winter camping. We use trucks to wear down a path to our campsite through the deep snow. Bring an RV and you’ll be stuck on the roads off the mountain.

Setting up a big canvas tent will give you plenty of room to live in, plus keep you sheltered from the howling wind and snow that will pummel you during the trip. Bring a big propane stove to heat the tent up and you’ll be nice and cozy. Don’t forget straw to lay out on the cold ground to make the floor of your tent.

Tip #4: Set Up A Drying Station

Since you’ll be playing all day in the snow, you’re going to get wet…really wet. You better have some kind of setup where you can hang gloves, boots, snow pants and coats above the heater to dry them out. A clothesline across the top of the tent (where the heat gathers) is a great place to hang wet clothes.

Tip #5: Bring On The Bedding

There are a couple different options for bedding depending on your preference. You can sleep right on the ground if you want (you laid out the straw, right?) If you’re going to go this route lay out a big tarp, then put your sleeping pads and sleeping bags on top so they stay dry. Cover with extra blankets so you’re plenty insulated. Unless you want to burn propane all night, the tent is going to get pretty chilly at night.

Your other option is to sleep on a camping cot. This will keep you off the ground and away from mice and other critters that take kindly to your warm shelter. You’ll also have air under you, so you better bring a thick pad to put on the cot so you’re insulated on both sides.

Tip #6: Don’t Forget The Snow Gear

Winter camping is a great time to test out all that snow gear that you’ve got sitting around. Since you’ll be surrounded in the stuff you might as well get some use out of it! Bring sleds, snow shoes, skis, snowboards, saucers, whatever you have that could be fun in the snow.

Since all your snow clothes are going to get wet, it’s a good idea to bring at least 2 of everything – snow boots, gloves, snow pants, coat, etc. The last thing you’ll want to do on a cold winter morning is put on wet gear to go play in.

Tip #7: Get Educated

As mentioned before, winter camping is a lot different than summer camping. Not only do you have the usual injuries that you could face, but other dangers like hypothermia and frostbite are present. Don’t go winter camping without knowing what the signs are and how to prevent and treat the dangers that you may come across.

Winter Camping Is A Blast!

Winter camping can be a lot of fun as long as you prepare properly. Do your due diligence then go for it! Be sure to keep in mind all these winter camping tips so you don’t miss anything important. As long as you stay safe and well fed, you’re sure to have a blast!

Photo by Chewonki Semester School from Flickr.com

7 Day Hiking Tips You Must Know Before Trekking

Day hiking tipsGoing for a nice long day hike is an enjoyable activity that will keep you in shape and let you spend some time in the great outdoors. Before you set off on your journey though, you better be prepared. These 7 day hiking tips will help you have a successful and satisfying day hike.

Top 7 Day Hiking Tips You Must Know

Tip #1: Get The Right Shoes

If you’re going on a day hike for a couple hours or more, you’re going to be spending a whole lot of time on your feet. Wearing shoes that don’t fit right or that don’t have proper arch support could turn your afternoon of enjoyment into misery. If you go hiking a lot, don’t settle on $20 shoes, get some high quality hiking shoes that have good arch support and are comfortable. Also – don’t wear fresh new shoes on a long hike, wear them in first around the house or out on some walks.

Tip #2: Dress For The Weather

If you’ve been planning a day hike for awhile, keep tabs on the forecast to get an idea what the weather will be like when you’re out. Forecasts are never 100% accurate, but they are still helpful. Take a look at the forecast the morning before you head out to make sure nothing has changed and dress accordingly. Wearing too many to too little clothes can make your day hike much less fun.

Tip #3: Pack Light

Unless you’re just going for a 30 minute hike, you better bring some stuff along for the trip. You’ll need food, water, and other accessories when you go for a longer hike, but keep it light. Every pound you can eliminate from your bag will give you a higher chance of reaching your goal for the day. But use discretion, keeping an essential out of your pack could put you at risk if something goes wrong.

Tip #4: Hike Consistently

If your goal is mileage or getting to a certain point on a mountain and back in one day, then you’ll want to hike as consistently as possible. Short sprints followed by rest periods will put you behind the person that is just slowly and consistently trekking along. Remember the Tortoise and the Hare?

Tip #5: Wear The Right Clothing

Along with “Dressing for the weather” it’s important to wear the right types of material. Cotton and wool clothing will make you wet and miserable. They don’t do a good job of wicking sweat off your skin, which is vital. Buy some clothing meant for exercising in that  will keep the sweat from soaking your clothes and making you uncomfortable.

Tip #6: Wear a Brimmed Hat

Going for a long day hike without a hat is never a good idea, it leaves you wide open to all those UV rays the sun is bombarding you with. And since you’re going to wear a hat, you might as well go all out! Grab a hat with a big brim that goes all the way around, it will help shade your head, neck, and shoulders from the sun.

Tip #7: Use Hiking Poles

Sure, you may think hiking poles are for wimps or that they really don’t do anything, but they really do help a lot if you’re hiking a long distance. Not only do they help to stabilize you on rough terrain, but they also transfer a little weight off your legs (which are doing most the work) and onto your arms. A good pair of [easyazon_link identifier=”B008CK5JHY” locale=”US” tag=”campingeasyazon-20″ popups=”y”]hiking poles[/easyazon_link] will help you hike farther and faster than “being tough” and going without them.

Where Else To Apply These Hiking Tips

There you have it, 7 day hiking tips that will help you have more fun with less discomfort on your next long hike. To learn more about hiking, check out these hiking essentials to make sure you don’t get caught out in the wilderness unprepared.

All these hiking tips apply if you’re going backpacking for more than a day too. If that’s the case, check out this list of backpacking essentials to make sure you have everything you need.

Best Fire Starter Ideas To Start Fires In Bad Conditions

Whether you’re out car camping, backpacking, or motorcycle camping, building a fire is essential if you need a little warmth and want to cook some food. But how do you build a fire in less-than-ideal conditions? What if all the sticks and twigs nearby are soaking wet? These are the best fire starter ideas that I’ve found to be able to start fires quickly, no matter the conditions.

The Best Fire Starter Ideas

Wax & Egg Cartons

This is a homemade solution that works great. You’ll need to start saving the remnants of all the candles you burn (or ask friends for theirs). You’ll also need some egg cartons, the ones that come in the 5-dozen pack work the best, or you can use the bottom parts of the smaller containers.

Heat the wax up to it’s melting point (be careful!) and fill up each egg spot with the candle wax. Once it cools, then you can cut them apart so you have individual fire starters. All you have to do is light the egg carton and you’re fire will get going in no time. You can add dryer lint or sawdust to the carton to help it light better too.

Cotton Balls & Petroleum Jelly

This is a bit more messy solution, but very cheap and something you can do at home. Take individual cotton balls and squeeze petroleum jelly into them. It’s not enough just to cover the outside of the cotton ball, they need to be saturated. You can store them separately or together in ziploc bags, just make sure they’re sealed!

An alternative to cotton balls and petroleum jelly is soaking them in wax like above. To get them started, just scrape the wax off a small area on the cotton ball and it should light up just fine.

Pre-cut Kindling

This fire starter idea is a little more bulky and works great if you’re car camping since you have more space. I go through a lot of 2 x 4’s and other lumber that gets reused and wears out eventually. I take all the boards that I can no longer use and cut them up into small pieces with a skilsaw, then split them into kindling with a hatchet. This wood is very dry and makes great fire starter, you can even soak it in any kind of liquid fuel if it’s really wet out, just be careful!

Tree Pitch

If you’re out camping and forgot to prepare any firestarter, tree sap can be used in a pinch. Look around the trees in the area and collect chunks of pitch. If it’s soft and sticky, use a piece of wood to scrape it off the tree. This can be really helpful fire starter in damp conditions.

How To Start The Fire Starter

Once you have your fire starter all ready to go, you will need to light it. This means flame from a match or lighter or even a heavy spark will do it in some cases. Always store some waterproof matches in a waterproof container so you have something to light your fire with. Matches are cheap and light so pack plenty!

Lighters can be handy but are sometimes unpredictable. If they get wet they won’t light, and sometimes they won’t light at different altitudes.

A great fire starter that you can pick up is called Swedish Firesteel. It produces a nice, big spark and will work even if it’s soaking wet, so is great for emergencies.

Complete Car Camping Checklist – Don’t Forget Anything

car camping checklistTaking a car camping trip is one of the most enjoyable (and my favorite) ways to go camping. Unlike backpacking or motorcycle camping, you can bring whatever your car can carry. There are no weight or size limits (except those of your car). Using a complete car camping checklist will ensure that you don’t miss a thing when you’re packing.

While you do have a lot more space than someone going backpacking or motorcycle camping, it’s important to think strategically about what you’re bringing and not just throwing everything you own in the car. After all, your car will run out of space eventually.

It’s also a good idea to get a packing system down – each time you go car camping, pack your stuff in a similar way. You’ll soon find better ways to pack your stuff that will help you get more stuff in the car and unpack it easier at the camp site.

Car Camping Essentials Checklist

  1. Tent
  2. Rainfly
  3. Tent
  4. Rain fly
  5. Tarp
  6. Sleeping Bags
  7. Sleeping Pads
  8. Pillows
  9. Extra Blankets
  10. Propane Camp stove
  11. Barbecue
  12. Campfire cooking equipment
  13. Can opener (or multi-tool)
  14. Cooler
  15. Propane (or other fuel)
  16. Water Jugs
  17. Folding Camping Table
  18. Pots & Pans
  19. Utensils
  20. Plates & Bowls
  21. Food
  22. Water
  23. Dish soap
  24. Firestarter/matches
  25. First Aid Kit
  26. Tooth brush
  27. Toothpaste
  28. Washcloths
  29. Towels
  30. Toilet Paper
  31. Feminine Hygiene
  32. Shaving Kit
  33. Shovel
  34. Rake
  35. Toolkit
  36. Flashlights
  37. Extra Clothes
  38. Extra Shoes
  39. Rain Gear
  40. Splitting Maul
  41. Rope
  42. Whistle
  43. Lantern

Along with all the car camping essentials, you’ll also want to bring other things to make the trip more enjoyable and easier.

Optional Car Camping Checklist

  1. Camping Cots or other bedding
  2. Mat for outside tent
  3. Broom
  4. Pavilion
  5. Camping coffee pot
  6. Extra coolers
  7. Folding camping chairs
  8. Spices
  9. Mugs
  10. Can coolers
  11. Cutting board
  12. Pie irons
  13. Cooking sticks
  14. Aluminum foil
  15. Steak knives
  16. Dutch oven
  17. Table cloth
  18. Butane lighter
  19. Pot holders
  20. Tongs/Spatulas
  21. Ziplock bags
  22. Corkscrew

Having all the equipment you need when you leave home will make your camping trips less stressful and much more fun. The worst is forgetting one of the car camping essentials and having to spend the weekend without something you really need.

Use a checklist (or make your own) and mark off every item as you pack it into your car. Check it off any earlier and you may find that it’s still on the table at home when you go to grab it out of your car.

Photo by bpende on Flickr.

Outdoor Camping – How To Have More Fun While Camping Outdoors

Outdoor campingOutdoor camping is a great way to relax and get away from our high-stress, busy lives. Whether you’re in need of a short vacation or just want to do something fun for the weekend, going camping outdoors will make for a fun & relaxing trip. Making sure you have the right outdoor camping gear and equipment is essential if you want to make the most of it.

Essential Outdoor Camping Gear

To have the most fun on your camping trip, it’s important to remember all the camping essentials so you aren’t stuck without something you really need. This includes things like your tent/RV/tent trailer (depending on what you have available), some great camping sleeping bags and pads, food, water, and campfire cooking equipment.

Forget something you really need and you’ll end up in the car headed to the nearest town or even home depending on the item. A little preparation can go a long way to save you time and money while you’re camping. Take care of these essentials and you’re bound to have less stress and more fun during your camptrip.

Other Outdoor Camping Equipment

Since you’ll be “braving the great outdoors” you’re going to need some other outdoor camping equipment to make your trip as fun as possible. Whether your idea of camping is sitting in a cozy RV with full hookups or if you prefer more primitive camping where all you have is what you bring, some outdoor camping equipment will make your trip easier and more fun.

Getting some high quality folding camping chairs can make a world of difference when you’re trying to relax during the day. Poor camp chairs can be hard on your back and cause you pain (not my idea of relaxing).

Having some sturdy folding camping tables to put all your stuff on (so it’s not in the dirt) is another thing that will help you enjoy outdoor camping. You can use these tables to cook on, eat on, store things, anything that you might need a flat surface for.

Depending on the time of year you go camping, it may get dark before you’re ready to hit the sack. In these cases you’ll want to bring some lanterns to light your path and help you see when the sun goes down. That way you can enjoy staying up late, conversing with friends or playing some card games as the night goes on.

More Outdoor Camping Tips

When you start packing for camping, it’s important not to forget anything vital. The best way I’ve found to make sure you have everything is to create a checklist for your camping trips. You can check out my tent camping checklist for a place to start. Print your checklist out and simply mark off the items as you pack them. This will greatly reduce stress before and during your outdoor camping adventure.

Don’t take yourself too seriously! Remember, the point of camping is to have fun. This is especially true if you’re camping with kids. Plan some camping activities beforehand so you don’t just sit around all day wondering what to do (though sitting around can be a great way to relax if that’s your goal). Outdoor camping can be one of the great joys in your life if you come prepared and plan ahead a little bit.

Family Camping – The Key To Fun Family Tent Camping

Family camping is quite a bit different than going with just a couple adults, so it’s important to learn the difference and be prepared. You’ll be responsible for more people and those people (usually the little ones) are not responsible themselves, which means you need to pay extra attention. If you don’t own an RV and decide to go family tent camping, then that throws another wrench in things that you’ll need to think about.

A Family Camping Checklist is Essential

First off, you need to make sure you have everything you’ll need while you’re away. Bring lots of food, clothing, blankets, and it’s a good idea to plan out some camping activities for kids. Using a family camping checklist is the best way to make sure you don’t forget any vital items at home. Plus it reduces stress while packing for the camp trip.

Family Tent Camping Requires a Big Tent

If you’re serious about family tent camping don’t be afraid to invest a few bucks into a high quality, big family tent. There’s all sorts available now, you can even get family tents that have separators to divide up the tent into different rooms. Do your due diligence when picking a tent and don’t just go for the cheapest one, usually those are priced lower for a reason. A tent is one of those camping essentials that should be a serious purchase.

The last thing you want is a tent that starts to show signs of wear early and that you’ll have to replace, which ends up being more expensive than just getting a good one in the first place. Be wary of tent sizes too, usually a 6-person tent will only fit 3-4 comfortably. When you’re family tent camping it’s hard to have a tent that’s too big.

Enjoy Your Kids While Family Camping

Family camping usually means you’re camping with kids so be sure to get them involved and help them have a lot of fun (which is usually pretty easy outdoors). There’s a lot for kids to learn while camping, so be willing to explain everything you’re doing and teach your kids how to do it too.

This is not only good for the kids, but as they learn more they’ll become very helpful around the campsite and will make your job easier. Every family camping trip you go on they will learn more and be able to help out more. Plus they will be learning responsibility and taking ownership of the camping trip which will help them enjoy it more.

Pre-Cook Or Plan Your Meals In Advance

When you’re camping with the whole family, you’re going to have a lot of things to do. The last thing you’ll want to be thinking about is “What should we eat tonight?” Planning all your meals before you leave home is essential to keep your stress level low and help you relax while family camping.

This doesn’t mean you need to eat extravangant meals, but it does mean you need to have a plan. Go over all your camping meal ideas and pick a few that will work for the camping trip you’re going on. If you are headed to a place that doesn’t allow campfires, then don’t plan to roast hot dogs over the fire one night.

Remember…kids eat a LOT, especially when they’ve been running through the woods all day, so be sure to take that into account when you’re thinking through your meals and how much to bring.

Family Camping Is Worth The Work

Yes, family camping is more work than letting the grandparents take the kids for the weekend while you and your spouse go out camping alone or with friends. But in my opinion it’s well worth the work. As long as you do it right, your family will grow closer together and you will be building great memories with each other.

Primitive Camping – How To Make Primitive Camping A Joy

Primitive CampingDepending on your level of camping experience, the term primitive camping may mean a lot of different things. If you go to a primitive campground, most of the time that just means they don’t have  any amenities like electricity, running water or flushing toilets. But you can take it as far as you like.

What Is Primitive Camping?

To some, primitive camping may mean going out into the woods with just an axe and a gun to see if they can survive. Personally, that sounds like way too much work, as I like to enjoy myself when I’m camping. So my definition of primitive camping is driving up into the woods and carving out a camping spot – everything we need is in my truck. If you’re brand new to camping, this may not be the first trip you want to take.

What To Bring Primitive Camping

By definition, primitive camping is a bit more dangerous than RV camping or going to a campground with full amenities. If something bad happens you’re further away from civilization and it will take longer to get medical attention if needed. Be sure to have a first aid kit along with the knowledge of how to use it on a camping trip like this.

You’ll also need to bring up all your own water, not just drinking water either. You’ll need water to clean dishes, cook with, as well as to stay hydrated. We have a 5 gallon jug that we fill up to use mostly for cleaning and cooking. Then we take a flat (24 bottles) or two of bottled water to drink. This amount will usually get us through 2-4 days of primitive camping.

Using paper plates, paper cups, and plastic forks & spoons can make things easier. Instead of doing any dishes you can just throw the paper in the fire and the plastic in the garbage…easy! Keep in mind that you’ll still need water to clean your pots and pans though.

The next thing to think about when primitive camping is the lack of electricity. If you want coffee, then you’ll need a camp stove and a percolator instead of the usual plug-in coffee pot. There’s no microwave either, so all cooking will have to be done over the fire or on a camp stove or barbecue. To cook over the camp fire, you can use pots/pans, cooking sticks, or wrap food in aluminum foil and put it in the coals.

Lastly, you’re going to need to set up some kind of bathroom. There are a variety of camping toilets that you can buy for this, or you can makeshift your own from a 5 gallon bucket, it all depends on how fancy you want to get. If the trees are thick then it may be fine to set it out in the forest a little ways, or you can hang a sheet to give some privacy. Just remember to keep things clean – always bury everything and don’t litter!

Primitive camping definitely isn’t for everyone, but it does have it’s advantages. In most cases it’s cheaper and more secluded than a campground. After all, plumbing, running water, and electricity cost money, so someone’s gotta pay. Just be sure to be prepared if you decide to “rough it” out in the woods for a weekend. Remember, on a trip like this you should only bring the camping essentials and not a bunch of extra stuff.

Camping With Kids – 7 Kids Camping Tips To Maximize Your Fun

Camping With KidsIn our day and age of hustling around and staying more than 100% busy, camping with your kids is a great way to relax for awhile and get out of the hurried life for a few days. Spending time with your kids is not just good for them, it’s also a lot of fun if you prepare things right. Here’s 7 tips for camping with kids that will help you have the most fun with the least amount of stress.

Camping With Kids Tip #1 – Get The Kids Involved

If you tell your kids that you’re going camping and they’re just “along for the ride” they’ll be much less excited to go than if you let them get involved in the whole experience. Their level of involvement will vary depending on age, but even a 4 year old can help pack the truck.

As your kids get older, let them have more control in the process. You can make them responsible for packing themselves, picking activities for the family to do, choosing the location to go on, etc. Delegate more responsibility as they get older and they will take ownership of the camping experience and enjoy it much more.

Tip #2 – Pack a Lot of Clothes

If you’ve ever been around kids and dirt and water before, you already know that camping with kids can get pretty messy, especially if it rains. Kids aren’t as careful about keeping their clothes nice and clean like we are, so pack a lot of clothes so they can get changed into something dry and clean if they have a little too much fun in the woods.

Kids Camping Tip #3 – Use a Checklist to Pack

Trying to get your kids organized and ready to go camping can be a stressful task that causes you to forget key items for your trip. You can bypass this potential problem by using a camping checklist to make sure you’ve got all the camping essentials and everything else you wanted to bring. Check the items off the list as you pack them and you’ll be sure to remember everything you need to make your trip a success.

Camping Tip #4 – Setup a Test Run

If this is your first time taking your kids camping, then it may be a good idea to “test run” your kids and their equipment for a night in the backyard. Depending on their age you can teach your kids to setup their own tent, get it ready to sleep in, then spend the night outdoors. This is also a good chance to make sure your camping checklist is updated with everything you need.

Camping With Kids Tip #5 – Teach Your Kids Responsibility

Going on a camp trip with your kids is a great opportunity to teach them responsibility. Show them how to keep the campsite clean and work together to establish a set of rules they can take ownership of.  If you give each child a set of duties they are responsible for, they will be proud of helping keep the campsite clean and organized.  Remember to lead by example!

Camping Tip #6 – Make Safety a Top Priority

A camping trip in the woods is much different than sitting around inside your home in the city. There are threats that just don’t exist in town. Be sure to make safety a priority to your kids. Explain the possible dangers of the place you’re going and what to do in different situations. A couple different sources of danger are the campfire, poisonous plants, sharp trees & branches, animals, bugs, and getting lost.

Best Camping With Kids Tip #7 – Have Fun!

The most important part of a camping trip with your kids is for everyone to have a lot of fun and enjoy each other. If you’re stressed out the whole time, you’re going to suck the fun out of the trip and no one will ever want to go camping again. Focus more on the fellowship with your kids and building that bond than anything else and it will be a camping trip well worth it.

7 Camping Tips and Tricks For Beginners To Maximize Your Fun

Camping Tips and Tricks for Beginners

Be prepared & have fun!

If you’re going to go camping for the first time ever, it’s vital that you prepare properly and think things through before you leave home to have as much fun as possible. Here are some camping tips and tricks for beginners to make sure you enjoy you camping trip as much as possible.

Camping Tip #1 – Bring the Essentials

Forgetting any of the camping essentials will get you in trouble every time. Every camping trip you’ll need a tent (or other shelter), sleeping bags & pads or cots to sleep on. Food and water is another big deal. If you don’t bring enough food you’re going to be hungry and out of energy (and likely begging from your camp mates). Same goes with water, being dehydrated is unhealthy and potentially dangerous. Oh yeah, you’ll need some cooking supplies to prepare your food in too.

Camping Tip #2 – Know Your Equipment

Don’t wait until you get to your camp spot to figure out how to set up your tent or put the rain fly on. The last thing you want to do is to spend hours learning how to set up your shelter when you should be out having fun or relaxing by the fire. If you head out in the evening this could be an even bigger disaster, which leads into your next camping tip.

Camping Tip #3 – Leave Home Early

One of the best camping tips for beginners I can give you is to leave your home early. Get up to your camping spot early in the day so you can get your camp setup before it gets dark. Things do go wrong sometimes, whether it’s a flat tire or you just can’t figure out your tent (see above). You don’t want a small inconvenience to force you to sleep on the ground.

Camping Tip #4 – Use a Camping Checklist

Whether it’s your first or twenty seventh camping trip, you need to make a checklist of the items you need to bring, should bring, and might want to bring. Checking the items off as you put them in the truck will help you get everything you need, plus give you peace of mind knowing you have everything.

Camping Tip #5 – Check The Weather

Before you head out, be sure to check the weather report and prepare accordingly. If it’s supposed to rain, then be sure to bring some tarps to set up and enough clothes to change into if you get wet (which you will). Remember: Weather reports are rarely spot on, so even if it’s supposed to be sunny the whole time, pack a little extra just in case.

Camping Tip #6 – Double Check Your Expendables

Go through your camping supplies and make sure you have enough of everything that gets used up. Items  like matches, propane, plastic forks & spoons, paper towels, toilet paper, etc. Running out of one of these during a camping trip is a bummer.

Camping Tip #7 – Clean Up As You Go

Nothing is worse than a group of campers that lets their campsite become a pig sty. This isn’t just a camping tip for beginners – EVERYONE needs to keep a clean campsite. Make a habit of cleaning up as you go. Burn paper products as you use them or put them in a box to burn when you start the fire. Hang a garbage bag up and let everyone know about it so garbage is taken care of right away.

Follow each of these camping tips and tricks for beginners and you’ll be on your way to a weekend of fun in the woods. Don’t let a little unpreparedness spoil your trip, get everything ready in advance and you’ll enjoy a stress-free camping trip.

Photo by Martin Lopatka from Flickr.com